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The cliometrics of academic chairs. Scientific knowledge and economic growth, the evidence across the Italian regions 1900-1959

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The analysis of the evolution of the academic chairs of an academic system is a promising area of investigation. The exploration of the evolution of the size and the disciplinary composition of the stock of academic chairs in Italy in the years 1900- 1959 provides an opportunity to understand the contribution of scientific knowledge to economic growth. The basic assumption is that knowledge is not a homogeneous activity, but rather a bundle of highly differentiated disciplines that have a differentiated impact on economic growth. Advances in scientific knowledge are likely to have a direct, positive effect on economic growth according to their fungibility, appropriability and complementarity with other sources of technological knowledge and hence exploitation conditions. Advances in scientific knowledge that can be converted into technological knowledge with high levels of fungibility, appropriability and complementarity have a higher chance to affect economic growth. The econometric analysis confirms that advances in engineering and chemistry, as proxied by the number of chairs, had much a stronger output elasticity than in other scientific fields. These results have important implications for research policy as they highlight the differences in the economic effects of academic disciplines.

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  • Antonelli Cristiano & Crepax Nicola & Fassio Claudio, 2012. "The cliometrics of academic chairs. Scientific knowledge and economic growth, the evidence across the Italian regions 1900-1959," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201206, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:201206
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    1. James A. Cunningham & Vincent Mangematin & Conor O’Kane & Paul O’Reilly, 2016. "At the frontiers of scientific advancement: the factors that influence scientists to become or choose to become publicly funded principal investigators," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 778-797, August.

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